Market Musings Blog

Make a mango lassi

Ataulfo mango cutAtaulfo mangos may be hard to pronounce, but this buttery smooth yellow fruit is easy to enjoy. Enjoying this mango straight up is always a win- Carefully cutting around the pit. But for a special treat, try a mango lassi. Ataulfo mangos are similar to the Alphonso variety that is popular in India, so why not try it out in a classic Indian yogurt drink like the lassi?

I’m experimenting now with divvying up the ingredients into pint sized mason jars for quick and easy blending each morning. But so far my family and I end up drinking all of them right away!

Ataulfo Mango Lassi
1 Ataulfo mango, skin cut away and fruit removed from pit
½ cup plain unsweetened yogurt of your choice
1 cup milk of your choice
1 tsp. rose water (found in the baking aisle)
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch of sugar or other sweetener (optional)

Place all ingredients in your blender (or a wide-mouth pint jar for immersion blenders) and blend until smooth. The ataulfo mangos are so sweet now, you might not need any sugar or sweetener! Enjoy, preferably with a straw.

Which CSAs drop at the co-op?

With spring in the air and this article about Community Supported Agriculture in the Star Tribune recently, we figured it was time to list the farms that drop shares at our West 7th store and near our Selby store. The days that each farm drops at West 7th is listed next to its name. If you are interested in purchasing a share from any of these farms, please contact them directly.

FarmDriveway

Avodah Farm – Wednesday afternoon

Blackbrook Farm – Thursdays

Bossy Acres – Thursdays

Featherstone Farms – Thursdays

Green Earth Growers – Tuesdays

Seeds Farm – Fridays

Sylvan Hills – Tuesdays

Treasured Haven – Mondays

Turnip Rock – Thursday afternoons

Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI) – Friday mornings

stones throw Full2Wk11smallFor those looking for a drop site closer to the Selby store, Stone’s Throw Agricultural Cooperative, which drops at Thomas Ave and Dale St. Stone’s Throw Agricultural Cooperative is a producers cooperative that is run and owned by three rural farms (Cala Farm, Agua Gorda Cooperative, and Whetstone Farm) and one urban farm (Stone’s Throw Urban Farm) in the Twin Cities region. We are a diverse group of farmers committed to working together to make farming and local, healthy food consumption more accessible to people of all backgrounds. Our CSA has many options for fresh summer and hearty winter vegetables, pastured meat, raw honey, and local mushrooms. By working together we believe we can support the growth of a stronger and more resilient regional food system. Stone’s Throw offers sliding scale payment options for our CSA. All of our members also have access to a complementary U-Pick selection of herbs, flowers, and sugar snap peas at each pick-up site.

Notes from the field – MOSES Organic Farming Conference

The Selby store's produce manager, Matt, shows a customer our selection of organically grown greens.Matt Olson has worked at Mississippi Market for 7 years and has been in his current position as Selby’s produce manager since 2011. Each year he attends the MOSES conference to connect with growers, learn about what’s new in organic farming, and be inspired by the talks and workshops.

March 1st 2014 was the 25th anniversary of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) organic farmer’s conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. What started as 90 people coming together in 1989 to talk about organic farming has grown to over 3300 attending this year. It is a great opportunity for farmers, educators, or anyone involved in organic agriculture to come together for a weekend. There is no better place for people to learn, teach, meet, and celebrate all that is happening in the vast world of organic farming.

I have been fortunate to attend a few conferences over the years with other co-workers from the Mississippi Market. Every year I come back excited and reinvigorated. The keynote speakers, workshops, and vendor showcase all offer myriad opportunities for me to learn about the latest happenings in the wide world of organic agricultural. As the produce manager in a food Co-op, it is imperative that I stay on top of the latest trends, concerns, and innovations. Quite frankly there is no better place to do this than MOSES.

Mose logosThis year I came away with new knowledge about nutritional levels in organic produce (studies have proven that antioxidant levels are generally higher), renewed passion to speak out against GMO’s (organic farming produces higher yields through floods and droughts and does not contain harmful pesticide or insecticides that are imbedded in GMO’s), and a renewed reminder that organic farming can feed the world!

While all of the scheduled events are exciting and educational, my favorite part about the conference is seeing people I haven’t seen in a while and meeting new people I have a common connection with. It is a great chance for me to see produce managers from across the region, farmers we buy from, and other people in the industry I rarely get an opportunity to talk with outside of the produce backroom or the sales floor at work. I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to work with such amazing and inspirational people. The MOSES conference is a testament that organic agriculture makes a difference and will continue to thrive, innovate, and grow no matter the obstacles.

From 90 people to 3300 in twenty-five years! No one can know what the future will hold, but I came away from the conference with the belief that in twenty-five years, organic agriculture will be bigger, stronger, and more influential than ever thought possible!

Meet the 2014 Organic Farmers of the Year, the Podoll Family. Theresa and David Podoll presented at the MOSES conference this year. At Mississippi Market, we are excited to be carrying their organic seeds at our West 7th store.

 

A condiment that brings the heat – Giardiniera

Okay, I won’t lie, in my house, we’re a little less than patient for spring to really be here.  Thinking about warm weather makes me think of grilling, which in turn makes me think about condiments.  About a year ago, I discovered my new favorite: giardiniera.

giardiniera soakingIn traditional Italian cuisine, this is simply a medley of pickled veggies, such as carrots, cauliflower, mild peppers, and beans soaked in salt and vinegar.  What I’m talking about, though, is actually a variety that originated in Chicago: some of the veggies above with a healthy dose of hot peppers, soaked in brine and then oil.  This type of giardiniera can is often found as an option to top Italian beef sandwiches, but adding it to most any sandwich/burger/sausage is tasty.  Or steak or chickenOr fish or eggs…or anything, really.  Also, it’s quite easy to make as home, allowing you to put your own unique twist on it.  Last summer, I tried my hand at making giardiniera, and just a few days ago emptied the last jar of that batch—time to make more!

Wanting to make my own, rather than just buying the standard, simple options from a big box store, I did my research into recipes, and opted to synthesize ideas from a handful.  I used this one from Jeff Mauro, but some of my additions or changes are below.

Giardiniera - colorful

  • 1 cup small-diced carrots
  • 1 cup tiny cauliflower florets
  • 4 to 8 serrano peppers, sliced into rings (depending on how much heat you want)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup diced olives (I used a plain green, but any of the olives we sell by the deli would work well)
  • ~2 cups olive oil or olive/canola blend, though most any cooking oil will work.
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prep is easy, though a tad time consuming if you decide to make a large batch, like I did today.

    • Slice the serranos into coins (leaving in all that wonderful spice of seeds) and dice the rest of the veg up nice and small—getting the carrots cut up took the longest, but having big chunks isn’t ideal in the finished product.
    • In a non-reactive bowl, pour on the salt and add enough water to the bowl to just cover everything.  Give this a couple good stirs and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two.
    • After the soak time, drain in a colander and rinse well—the first time I did this, I didn’t rinse as well as I had thought and ended up with a saltier batch than anticipated.
    • Toss the pepper and veggie mixture with fresh ground black pepper and whatever herbs you want to use, and spoon it into mason jars.
    • Add enough oil to the jars to cover, close ‘em up, and let sit for another day to fully marinate.

While most recipes I’ve seen suggest using your fresh giardiniera within a few weeks, I’ve not had any problem with leaving my not-in-use jars at the far back of the fridge—the cold here might solidify the oil (which makes it pretty easy to spread, actually), but a few minutes at room temperature liquefies it pretty quickly.

Giardiniera - jars

Like most anything by way of homemade condiments, giardiniera lends itself well to personalization.  Want some extra heat?  Toss in some red pepper flakes or a little of your favorite hot sauce.  If you’re a fan of smokey flavors like this guy, try substituting some of the regular salt with the applewood smoked salt that we have available in both packaged grocery and bulk herbs (I tried this this time around—haven’t tasted it yet, but brining in smoked salt certainly imbued the veg mix with the aroma!).  If your household prefers more mild flavors, nix the serranos in favor of sweet peppers.  Grab some small jars and use this as homemade gifts for family and friends—if you can bring yourself to sharing!

Ben Zamora-Weiss is a staff member and blogger for Mississippi Market’s Eat Local Challenge. As mentioned above, you’ll also find him at the Selby store keeping the shelves stocked with the best locally baked breads we can find.

Kickin’ it with kimchi

green cabbage

Napa or Chinese cabbage is traditionally used for making Korean winter kimchi, but it’s far from the only vegetable you can use for that purpose. At this time of year, good old green cabbages are available from Minnesota and Wisconsin growers in sizes ranging from the very small to the immense. While making kimchi from these is a little different from using the thinner-leafed, flexible napa cabbages, it can be done, and the results are just as tasty.

Traditional Korean kimchi varies by season, as you’d expect, but it usually includes several common elements: ginger, garlic, and a pleasing array of colors. Some incorporate fruit; others are limited to vegetables; many incorporate fish or fish pastes. One of the delights of kimchi is tailoring it to your own taste or to that of the people you feed. I’m fond of kimchi that’s heavy on ginger, garlic, and chiles. But because most of the folks I feed homemade kimchi to are Minnesotans, I add less heat than I did in California.

Traditional Korean kimchi that uses dried peppers incorporates varieties grown in Korea (gochugaru). You can buy gochugaru at United Noodles, Shuang Hur, Dragon Star, and other Asian groceries in Frogtown. Contemporary Korean kimchi plays with the much wider variety of dried peppers now available worldwide. A visit to El Burrito Mercado on the West Side will reward you with an amazing array of dried chiles from Mexico, some mild and deeply flavored, others medium or very hot, all flavorful.

kimchi ingredientsIf the thought of incorporating chiles into your kimchi makes you feel faint, don’t bother with them! You can create zingy kimchi with nothing more formidable than fresh ginger, some Wisconsin hardnecked garlic, and scallions to spice it up. This wonderful ferment can be as traditional or as personal as you want it to be. Just be sure to choose vegetables that create a lively melange of colors.

Like other fermented foods, kimchi needs to be kept away from air while it undergoes its transformation. To start with, I suggest you use a 1-quart/liter lightning jar (the kind with a glass lid attached with a wire bale). With green cabbage, salt the cabbage first in a big bowl so it becomes flexible enough to cram into a jar, add the other vegetables/fruit and seasonings, then pack everything into the jar as firmly as possible. Within 24 hours, the brine should provide a cap to the ferment. Keep the jar as close to 60° as you can; a counter near a north window is a pretty good place, as is a cool basement. Your kimchi should be ready to taste in about 3–6 days; as soon as you like its flavor, simply refrigerate and enjoy it.

Kimchi is the food of a thousand uses: you can add a dollop of it to scrambled eggs, omelets, tacos, burritos, vegetable and/or meat stir-fries. A bowl of rice or rice noodles with kimchi and some soy sauce makes a quick, tasty, and healthy lunch or breakfast. Add a little kimchi brine to a soup to brighten its flavor. A jar of homemade kimchi in the fridge is like having a culinary ace up your sleeve!

A simple & mild green cabbage kimchi

This kimchi is quite mild—its heat comes chiefly from ginger, not chiles. Don’t overlook other vegetables when you assemble it. You can add bok choy and other greens, radishes other than daikon, carrots, turnips, scallions, tat choi, fennel. If you’re a chile head, go for dried reds, but be sure to grind them into small bits before adding them.
Makes 2 quarts.

Ingredients
1 pound of green cabbage
1 pound of daikon or other radishes (e.g., watermelon, black Spanish), sliced thinly
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
3 tablespoons or more of finely minced, peeled fresh ginger (I use about half a cup)
1½ tablespoons or more of tasty minced garlic
5 scallions, white and green parts, finely crosscut
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1½ teaspoons of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of ground pepper , Mexican chiles, or fresh hot peppers, slit
lengthwise and left whole

Method
1. Core cabbage and cut crosswise very thinly; place in a large mixing bowl, add salt, cover, and allow to sit until salt pulls the moisture from the cabbage, leaving cut cabbage flexible (about 3–4 hours).

2. Peel radish, cut in half lengthwise, then into narrow crosswise slices.

3. Mix ginger, garlic, scallions, brown sugar, and salt in second bowl; add cayenne or peppers and mix well. Mix in with cabbage.

4. Sterilize two 1-quart (or one 2-quart) canning jars at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Cool on a wooden surface or towel.

5. Push the cabbage mixture into the jars as compactly as possible; cover with enough of the brine to top the kimchi. Leave at least 3 inches head space below lip of jars. Attach a lid, loosely; stand the jar in a glass bowl or saucer, because it may drool while fermenting.

6. Put your jar in a cool corner of the kitchen for 3 days. Watch for bubbles, which should start rising in your kimchi; fermentation is slower at this time of year because houses tend to be cooler. Once you can see bubbles at work, wait 3–4 days, watching for the bubbles that signify fermenting. Thereafter, you can start tasting your ferment. When it tastes good to you, store it in the fridge. Kimchi is almost immortal: it keeps well and becomes more complex and tasty with time.

Find more recipes for kimchi in our 3 Days, 3 ways recipe program - cooking tips designed to help your food purchases go further, featuring a new ingredient each month.

Impromptu – Celery Almond Salad

It’s the dead of winter and I can only eat so many bowls of soup before I start to crave something fresh and crisp. This salad comes together quickly and satisfies the need for something light and flavorful. I was so happy with it that I figured I’d share, for those who are looking for a bit of freshness these days. Read more …

Get your greens!

Hearty greens are perfect for winter meals – they pack a nutritious punch of vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens are known for being high in iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and carotenoids, as well as many anticancer factors. If you haven’t cooked greens before, don’t be shy! They are one of the quicker, easier vegetable to prepare. Here are some of our favorite ways to get our greens.

kale webChickpeas, sausage & kale

Ingredients (serves 2)
Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 uncooked sausages, sliced into rounds or chopped
1 bunch kale, chard or spinach (rinsed and stems removed), chopped
Beer, wine, or water
Salt & pepper to taste Read more …

Hoppin’ John for good luck in the new year

New Year’s Day in the American South is celebrated in many families with Hoppin’ John, a stew made with black eyed peas. Some people add a penny or other small trinket to the beans when serving them. Whoever finds it is promised especially good luck in the new year. As many recipes can be found for Hoppin’ John as there are cooks who make it, so use this one as a foundation for creating your own version. Read more …

Citrus Paradisi – The Grapefruit

Citrus is a promiscuous family: witness the grapefruit (pomelo x orange), the Meyer lemon (lemon x orange), the Persian or Bearss lime (Mexican lime x orange or lemon). Most citrus fruits we eat were initially spontaneous crosses that an alert orchardist noticed and improved upon. Grapefruits are one such cross, first appearing on the island of Barbados in the 18th century, a hybrid of the imported pomelo and orange. Grapefruit trees are true to their name: the fruits cluster, rather like vine grapes, though in spreading, densely shady and thorned trees. First brought to the U.S. in the 1820s, grapefruit didn’t exactly take the country by storm; initially no one could figure out what to do with them. This isn’t surprising, for compared to other members of the citrus family, early grapefruit had very thick and bitter pith, the genetic gift of their pomelo ancestors.

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Season’s Eatings

We get excited around here during the holidays. We love how the holidays bring people together and we love playing a part in people’s celebrations by providing fresh, delicious foods for their holiday spreads.

C

Read more …